US unemployment rate drops to 3.5 per cent amid ‘widespread’ job growth

The US unemployment rate dropped to 3.5 per cent last month as the US economy added 528,000 jobs, the Bureau of Labour Statistics announced on Friday.

Despite persistent inflation, the Labour Department said job growth in the US was “widespread” in July, with “leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, and health care” sectors all adding jobs.

The department also said the number of employed non-farm workers and the US unemployment rate are now at the same levels they were in February 2020, before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. The number of “long-term unemployed” — meaning persons without a job for more than six months — also decreased to pre-pandemic levels with a drop of 269,000 last month.

The positive monthly jobs report exceeds predictions from many analysts who had suggested last month’s job gains could be fewer in number than in recent months.

Earlier this week, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre had said the Biden Administration was expecting a report in the range of 150,000 jobs added last month — a far smaller number than was reported.

In a statement, President Joe Biden noted that last month’s jobs data shows the US unemployment rate at a level that is lower than at any other point in the last half-century.

“More people are working than at any point in American history. That’s millions of families with the dignity and peace of mind that a paycheck provides,” Mr Biden said, crediting his economic agenda — “to build the economy from the bottom up and middle out” — with the jobs boost.

“I ran for president to rebuild the middle class – there’s more work to do, but today’s jobs report shows we are making significant progress for working families,” he added.


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